AHA: External Defibrillators Don't Offer In-Hospital Benefit

Use in hospitalized patients with cardiac arrest not associated with improved survival

MONDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in patients with in-hospital cardiac arrest does not appear to improve survival, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association to coincide with presentation at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2010, held from Nov. 13 to 17 in Chicago.

Paul S. Chan, M.D., of Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues evaluated 11,695 hospitalized patients with cardiac arrests between Jan. 1, 2000, and Aug. 26, 2008, at 204 U.S. hospitals after AEDs were introduced on general hospital wards.

The investigators found that AEDs were used in 4,515 patients (38.6 percent), with AED use associated with a lower rate of survival after in-hospital cardiac arrest compared with no AED use (16.3 versus 19.3 percent). While AED use was associated with lower survival in cardiac arrests due to nonshockable rhythms (10.4 versus 15.4 percent), it was not associated with survival for cardiac arrests due to shockable rhythms.

"The compelling conclusions from the study by Chan et al should lead to consideration of a change in practice for in-hospital cardiac arrest," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

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